Joined July 2022
  • Day91

    Life on the farm

    January 30 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    The past few days has seen us settle into the routine. Now know all the dogs names and how many scoops of food they each get without referring to the list, and getting to know their personalities more. Timid Wanda - Doug's special project, is now happy and excited to see us. Pylocke with her sweet little face does a funny bunnyhop jump. Kira with her both front paws up jump when we go to feed her like shes praying. Tony who had a broken back leg when he was younger, but had just so much detemined and ran so hard when I took him for a canicross run but spent the rest of day without putting any weight on his bung leg. Fritz who must be the fastest to eat his food. Pep who sits up on the fence waiting for his bowl. And the big Queen B - Hera, the wolfdog who is such a softee and just loves a good tummy scratch. The last few days have been extremely hot, even to hot to do an evening canicross run with them. We normally let 4 - 6 dogs off after dinner for them to have a run around the section, which initially is just crazy with them running around and the other dogs all barking wanting to be let of also. I find it really hard leaving them tied up, like when you go down to get the dog you have choosen for a canicross run and they all look at you hoping they are going to be the choosen one, but that is life with working dogs. Also last Friday, there were 4 more mouths to be fed, with the cat giving birth to another lot of kittens, much to Luis annoyance (sounds like she is constantly pregnant) but very cute for us. Yesterday (Monday) we got up early and walked to the bus stop we thought the bus came about 7.10, but that bus driver said he went in the wrong direction and too wait for the next one (well thats what Doug gathered), and at 7.45 the one to Lonquimay came. The return bus wasn't until 2.45 pm so we had a bit of time to fill in so decided to walk the 7 kms to a waterfall. It was a beautiful waterfall and even though it wasn't that warm because it wasn't fully in the sun yet, and quite a wind blowing off it, I couldn't resist going in for a swim - Doug decided to just be the photographer. After spotting a Sceloporus malachiticus, the emerald swift or green spiny lizard and getting a few photos before it scuttled away, it was time to head back into town. By the end of the 7 kms even Doug was now wishing for the waterfall pool for a swim, instead did the next best thing for that time of day and found some lunch, which wasn't easy - not cafes or lunchbars, eventually found a small restaurant fill of locals eating but didn't have any signage on the outside and no menu but manage to find out they had chicken and chips so ordered 2 of those. Then we had to find a supermarket that was not closed for siesta, again we didn't factor that into our days planning. The one opposite the bus station was opened and we did a big stock up of food, while Doug was there to help me carry it all. It was then onto the bus and back to the farm for feeding time and for Doug to pack.

    Tue 31 Jan: After 6 months of being constantly in each others company, Doug and I said our goodbyes this morning, as he headed into Lonquimay to start his journey home. Luis was also going to Santiago on the bus tonight to pick up his 5 year old daughter and then to travel to Puerto Natales for a big 55 km running race this weekend, so it will be me and Samantha holding down the fort for the next week - party time - yeah nah! Luis had arranged a lift into Lonquimay with one of his neighbours for the two of them for 9 am, then they have to hang around until about 7 pm for their overnight bus to Santiago. That will get into Santiago around 6am and then Doug has to wait until midnight for his 12 hr flight to Auckland - its going be a long 3 days for him. He then has a couple of days rushing around home getting things sorted before driving back to Auckland to met his 15 Danish relatives who are flying in and then along with his brother they are all touring around the top half of the north Island for two and a half weeks in campervans. So an extremely busy time for him, while I play with the doggies. He then arrives back to Santiago on the 22nd Feb, and if I can cope with another week or so on the farm will join me back down here. Since my days will now be pretty much the same same, and I am unable to download photos, this will probably be the last report until then.

    Wed 1 Feb: Well not quite the last post yet, was hoping to include a video of me running with Kera that Luis took but having trouble reducing the size for posting without the laptop now so that will have to wait. In the meantime our first night in charge last night and we lost a dog. We let 4 loose after dinner for a bit of free time in the section while we watched, then one of the others, Bruce, decided he wanted free time and broke his collar so we sorting him a new collar, then a short while later we realised there was only 4 dogs running around. Roger, the husky with the "painted on ears" had escaped - we still can't work out where, there was a known escape route through the stream under the fence but Doug had done a dog-proofing job on that on our first day. So anyway 3 hrs going up and down the road, and up the hill behind us and no signs. Poor Luis was stressing on the bus, and worried he would kill a neighbours sheep. About 10:30pm with it to dark now to see we gave up and just had an unsettled night every time the dogs barked going out to see if he was back. This morning I got up and took Kali for a canicross run, we had justed turned out of the driveway and started along the road when next minute Roger comes running passed. We stopped and he came up to Kali, but wouldn't let me get near. Next minute he is running back down the road in the other direction chasing a rabbit. We followed but I could not see him, luckily Kali did, well buried down a large rabbit hole. He wouldn't come out so I took Kali back to the house and got a handful of dog biscuits. He was out of the hole and came to me when I held out the biscuits. Whew - lead on and back to the house. And strict instructions to not let him loose again. And apparently no bad news has been received from any of the neighbours. So I thought we had a bad night but this morning I heard from Doug, and he wins for the worst night. After waiting all day he goes to board the bus to take him to Santiago only to find out his ticket was for the previous night, and his flight back to NZ was for midnight Tuesday, not midnight Wednesday and the next available direct flight is the 12th. What a nightmare - with a lot of searching and cost he may have a flight leaving tonight going via Mexico City, LA and Sydney arriving in Auckland on Saturday - I thought three days of travelling would be tough, now it will be five. Hopefully the time with his relatives will be worth all the effort he has gone too - although it sounds like the kiwi summer might put a dampener on plans too.
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  • Day86

    To Lonquimay

    January 25 in Chile ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Mon 23rd Jan and Tue 24th: Got to the bus station in Mendoza without any issues on the city bus, and at 10 am was on our way to Santiago. It was a very scenic drive through the mountain pass. Got to the Chilean Border which was just over the top of the pass, and had a stressful half hour or so thinking our journey was at an end as they were checking Covid vaccinations here and Doug could not find his certificate - doesn't matter that we have already spent 2 months in the country and this is the first time it has been asked for. Anyway he eventually got onto the wifi and tracked it down in his emails, so onwards we could go. The drive down the pass was quite amazing with a big series of switchbacks dropping us down very quickly. Got into Santiago about 18:30, so we had just over 3 hours before our next bus at 21:40 to Lonquimay. Time for some McDonalds, and sussing out a new sim card. The overnight bus was fairly comfortable, we had the very front upstairs seats. Got a fair bit of sleep once I put the earplugs in. Got into Lonquimay about 7 am, an hour and a half before schedule. Not much to do but wait at the bus station. Just after 8.30 we thought we better try and contact Luis at the Husky farm for directions. Eventually got in touch and we found out that since he couldn't get in touch with us on Whats app a week or so a go (the chilean sim was in my broken tablet) he presumed we weren't coming and had got someone else who arrived yesterday, the previous helper - Carla was leaving tomorrow. SO WHAT NOW??? We thought we might as well still go and suss it out a bit more, however the farm is about 37 kms away from Lonquimay and his truck is broken, and the bus out towards that way didn't leave until 7 pm so only other option was to hitch. So with our 25 kg of packs each we started down the road. It was extremely hot, after probably an hour we got a short lift, then some more walking and then a longer lift to the side gravel road we needed. It was going to be about 7 kms walking from there. After walking a bit further than we needed due to missing two turns we eventually arrive at the farm to a cacophony of dog barking. At least we knew we were in the right place. Luis (31yr Chilean owner), Carla (Tenerife/England) old helper, and Samantha (Ecuador) new helper greeted us and showed us some of the 30 dogs (a mix of huskys and hounds and one rescued wolfdog) who are all tied up under the trees or in kennel enclosures. We were shown to a room, and Luis seemed happy for us to stay, so we thought we might as well until we could suss out if he really wanted us here. We helped with the evening feed 5.30 pm and about 8.30 pm (have to wait for it to get cooler for the dogs) Carla took us for our first Canicross run (dog is harnessed to you and runs in front), which was great.

    Wed 25th Jan: Carla (leaving) and Luis (to local city overnight) left at 7 am to catch the bus 2.5 kms down the road, while me and Doug choose different dogs and did another canicross run down the road - it was chilly, frost on the ground but beautiful, we ran down the end of the road to the intersection and bus stop which was 2.5 kms and then returned. Did the morning feed. Even though the mornings are cool the day soon gets hot up to 30+ degrees. So the routine is going to be up 6.45am for a canicross run, morning feed and poop collection 8 - 9.30 am, some dog brushing or other odd jobs, lunch about 1 pm, siesta or chilling time to about 5.30pm then evening feed, jobs or brushing or cuddling dogs. Evening canicross run about 8.30 - 9 pm, shower, dinner, bed. Lost the water supply tonight, and after contacting Luis the alternative supply he told us also did not work, so no shower

    Thur 26th Jan: Still no water - had to take water out of the stream for the dogs breakfast, which some dogs were not happy with. Day is very long and hot and extremely dusty, not really knowing what we should be doing, not really knowing if Luis really wants us here since he has Samantha, a long way from shops to get food (normally on workaways the host provides accomodation and 2 or 3 meals but Luis is struggling financially so we said we would do our own meals), so not really sure if I am going to stay when Doug goes next week - start investigating other options - most favourable one is to go to Alabama to visit my good friend, and enjoy some western food and english. Decide to get unlimited data for 7 days on our mobile plan to investigate.

    Fri 27th: With Luis return last night, he took 11 of the dogs for a run on the quad bike this morning, great to see, the dogs loved it and after 9 kms and avg speed of about 28 km/hr were very exhausted when they returned. He tries to do this 2 - 3 times a week. After that and the morning feed, Doug and I headed down the road as we needed more food supplies, so instead of going right at the main road and going the 31 kms to Lonquimay we went left towards the Argentina border and the smaller but closer town of Liucura which was only 7.5kms away. We got a couple of rides one half way down the gravel road, and one close to Liucura, so did quite a bit of walking. When we got there we went into the little supermarket (about the size of a dairy) that Luis reccommended and got some pork rind bread and coke for lunch and sat outside having that before we did the shopping, however next minute the roller door came down - bugger forgot about siesta time. Oh well we had the tablet with us and internet so spent the 2 hours quite happily sitting in the shade. Once the shop opened again we tried to do the shopping, however you could not go around the shelves but just had to tell the assistant what you wanted and she would get it - a difficult way when you can't speak the language, so we got a few things and thought it would be easier to try one of the other shops. This was also very small but we got most of what we wanted and decided to go back to the first shop with google translator to get some other stuff. With backpacks now full we headed back towards the farm. About 2/3 of the way we finally got a lift and Doug showed the driver a photo of the roadsign at the side road that we needed to get to (the road didn't have an actual name). The sign showed the name of the village that is somewhere down the road but the farm was only 6 kms away from that point. The driver drove pass the road so we tapped and let her know that was where we wanted to go, but she said she could take us to a quicker way, so we hopped back onto the back of the ute and she drove and drove and ended up 18 kms towards Lonquimay. She thought we needed to go to the small village and it was quicker to reach from the Lonquimay end of the road, so now we had to start walking the 18 kms back. About half way we got another lift by a nice young man (policeman) who ended up taking us right to the farm - wonderful. Anyway after having a better day today, and talking to Luis to see if he was happy for me to stay, and also having the internet and contact with the outside world I decided I would while Doug is away.
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    Traveler

    Yey, have been sooo waiting to hear about this! And woah, sounds like an adventure just getting there, let alone everything since. The dogs and whole experience looks amazing tho I imagine there are many challenges. Have fun Vicki and best wishes for a great time back home Doug.

     
  • Day83

    Mendoza

    January 22 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    Sat 21 Jan: After the last week of night lows of 3ish it is difficult to now have night lows of 23, and you can't sleep in because it quickly gets so hot in the tent when the sun is up. Today we caught the bus and went into the city centre. First stop was the bus station to see if we could get a bus to the Aconcagua National Park, which is 180 kms away and just before the Chilean Border. Mt Aconcagua (6961 m) is the highest mountain in the Southern hemisphere and the highest outside of asia. There are trips up that take 20 or more days but you need mountaineering skills so I crossed that one of the list, but apparently the day hike up to Confluence, First Base Camp is very good so I was keen to try and do it. One bus company does 3 trips out a day, so we lined up at their booth and waited probably about 20 minutes before getting told that we needed to be at their office on the ground floor. So going there, the line stretched about 30 people but the wait was actually less than an hour so not to bad, but we weren't surprised to be told there was no availablity for tomorrow. So plan B - get a rental car - however there were no availability there either. So plan C do a wine tour instead - but they don't go on Sundays, oh well plan D, search for a local hike to do once we are back at the campground. So we just wander around the centre, found some market stalls in one of the plazas and brought a bit of Argentina bling (a ring and stud earrings). Doug decided to buy an Argentina soccer shirt with Champions of the World on it, so we went back where we saw them, only for them not to have any in his size. So we headed to the bus stop we had taken the #302 bus to the campground yesterday when we had arrived and waited, and waited - every bus came except the #302. We did wonder if the 301 or 303 went in the same direction (we found out later they did) but just weren't sure, so after over an hour decided to try and walk back. We didn't have a map so took a while to get in the right direction. We knew once we found the big park we would be okay. Eventually we got to the park, and came across a Natural History Museum. Needing toilet and water we went inside and finding out it was free decided to have a look around, and although all in Spanish it was very interesting with lots of rocks, dinosaurs and animals on display. We then continue walking, into the very hot sun, temperature was 32, and 4 hours from setting off and probably over 10 kms we were relieved to get to the campground for a swim.

    Sun 22 Jan: Found a very popular local hike - Cerro Arco, and it was only a little further along our campground road. Well turned out to be 3 kms up the road, before turning onto a gravel road and another 3 kms to the start of the trail. Doug woke up not feeling to good with a dodgy stomach so after the first 3 kms decided to return to camp while I carried on. Again it was about 32 degrees so a very hot climb up to the top at an altitude of 1670m. Took me 2 hours from the campsite to cover the 9.7 kms to the top. After a few photos looking over Mendoza, which are a bit hazy from the summer sun it was the long hot descent back down. My watch has died after its shock swim in the Beagle Channel so haven't got proper hike stats until I get a replacement. After a swim, it was a lazy afternoon trying to get everything updated because tomorrow we are back to Chile on a 10 am bus to Santiago, which arrives hopefully 4 pm and then 3 hrs later we are on a 11 hr overnight bus to the southern town of Lonquimay, where I will be doing a Workaway volunteer job on a Husky sled dog farm for approx 6 weeks. Doug will do the first week then buses back to Santiago to fly home for 3 weeks touring with his Danish relatives that are coming to NZ, and then he will rejoin me for another 2 or so weeks at the farm when he returns. And with no wifi on the farm I will be putting my reports on hold for that time unless I can get into town to post now and again. So adios for now.
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    Traveler

    😳

    Traveler

    Wow! Very keen to hear about the husky volunteer job. That’ll be a unique experience!! And have a great trip home Doug 😄

     
  • Day80

    Last day in Ushuaia

    January 19 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    Thur 19 and Fri 20 Jan. This morning we had to sadly pack up the tent ready for our departure from Ushuaia. The first day in Ushuaia, I was not impressed, all the hikes were going to cost us lots either in entry fee or getting too them, the campground wasn't the greatest and a long way from the centre and I thought it would be a long week here. How wrong was I, its was the greatest week. Mainly finding Kelenkeskes Camping, and the great hikes just down the road. Most of our campground group was leaving today so that made it a little easier, and there was lots of swapping of contact details. We didn't have to much planned, packing took a while because we had to try and get our packs to 15 kgs for the flight tonight. Leaving the packs at the campsite for the day we headed down the hill towards town, stopping at the Barbers halfway for Doug to get his haircut, then continuing on to try and find a spot to have our most southern swim in the Beagle Channel. We ended up walking about 4 kms on the other side of Ushuaia to find a suitable spot. The day wasn't very warm and very cloudy with a bit of drizzle now and then, so it was just going to be a quick in and out. It didn't help that it was quite shallow and very hard to walk out with the rocks and shells, but we got wet, and although cold we both thought it wasn't as bad as some of the lake swims we had done in Canada. The day was fast disappearing, so after a stop to use our hot chocolate voucher we had got from our boat trip, which was very delicous and getting a "bottom of the world" shot glass for Rob, we decided to get the bus back up to the campground. Finding a bus goes back down at 18:30, we had 40 minutes to have a quick dehydrated meal (still trying to lighten the packs and with all our communal dinners hadn't use these as planned, only 1 left now) and goodbyes to Muaro and Eliandro we just made the bus. So from 6.30pm, we took 2 buses, then walked the final approx. 2.5 kms to the airport. Our packs came in at 16 and 17 kgs and they didn't say anything so that was a relief. At 23:20 we left for Buenos Aires, having patches of turbulence and a screaming baby for most of the flight, got in about 3 am, then a 2 hour wait for our second flight to Mendoza, getting in just after 7 am. Then over an hours wait for a stupid small minibus which we had to try and manoeve down to the back with our packs (would love to know why they think using a minibus on an airport route into the city centre is suitable), with the help of some lovely young Argentina girls, got off at the right spot, walked 100 m to another bus stop and again with the help of an amazing helpful lady who paid for us (they don't take cash, you need a bus card and she wouldn't take our cash) and helped Doug identify where we needed to hop off and also informing the bus driver just in case, we eventually arrived at our randomly choosen campground at 10 am - a long 16 hours after setting off. So after setting up tent, it was time for a snooze until about 14:30 - I felt like I did after doing night shift a feeling I don't care to remember to often . It was so hot about 30 C, so we just went for a wander down the road, got some groceries, had a quick swim in the pool to cool off and generally just took it easy.Read more

    Traveler

    What beautiful photos and video

     
  • Day79

    A hill to climb in Ushuaia

    January 18 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Wed 18th Jan: We had narrowed what to do to 3 options today all with their pros and cons. 1 - Get a taxi 18 kms to the very popular and crowded hike up to Laguna Esmeralda and then continue to the Glaciar above. Hassle and expensive for transport, too many people, have also seen so many glaciers, but must be a reason why its one of the most popular places to hike. 2 - there was a rough map of tracks going to some peaks half way up the road to the fancy hotel. How good will the track be to follow, and still quite a long walk to get to the start of the track, but good to see view from top and that was near where we saw the foxes so possibility of seeing wildlife. 3 - go back to Laguna Encanated and go up the track that is shown on the campsites map going up the peak to the side. Easy to get to from camp, get to go through buttercup meadows again which Doug wanted to do a photoshoot with me in, good size peak so should be good views. But we had already done the track to Laguna Encantada and we didn't see any further tracks after there. So after waking up to a much warmer and sunnier morning we decided mainly for the ease to choose option 3. So up the road, through the buttercups and up the steady fairly steep climb and we reached Laguna Encantada after 1 hr 20. On the way we saw a very pregnant horse getting well kicked from inside, poor thing I bet she was counting down the days or hours. At the Laguna we didn't see any obvious track going up the peaks on the right, but there was a bit of a track going around the Laguna on the left and then we thought a scramble up the saddle we would be get to the top of the peak we had choosen. It was a steep climb, initially through boggy land then onto rock and shingle. Doug's and my paths deviated and I ended up going up the shingle to the saddle, while Doug took a route to the left. I thought from the saddle it wasn't going to be to far to the top, but it was still a long hard slog. About half way up from the saddle, me and Doug met up again and with the watch getting to 3 hrs we got to the top together which was just wow, wow, wow . The 360 degees views made the climb well worth it - it was amazing. And there was very little wind, warm and not another sole in sight, we ended up spending probably 2 hours up there having lunch and enjoying the views. We eventully got boots back on, stopped taking photos and headed back down, stopping at the buttercups for some photos in my blue dress which we thought would go nice against the yellow background (had to many nice photos from on top of mountain so these buttercup ones are on the next day). And tonight it was another group dinner with Eliandro cooking Empanadas - yum. It was just a shame the second bottle of Malbec I choose was not nearly as good as the first, but still drinkable. Muaro got his guitar out and played a bit then handed it over to one of the French men who had trained as a classical guitarist. Another wonderful night with just the best group of people. Even Muaro and Eliandro have found this group amazing and its the first time they have ever done the commual dinners and we had 3 in less than a week, so great timing for us.Read more

    Traveler

    Loving the dress. And at the risk of sounding like a stuck record, loving the photos! Just awesome.

     
  • Day78

    Sealife on the Beagle Channel

    January 17 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 3 °C

    Tue 17 Jan: It was an early wake up to walk down to town for our boat tour at 9 am. The weather was great, sunny initially but then a bit cloudy, but very calm. We started with seeing a small island covered in cormorants, then another with sealions and then the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, which is a popular photo scene from Ushuaia. Then it was about 1.5 hrs cruise along the Beagle Channel, past Puerto Williams, Chile (the southern most town which we were hoping to go to but for some reason they did not open the border control this summer allowing trips coming across the channel from Ushuaia which was disappointing) and to Martillo Island which has two penguin species - the Magellanic and Gentoo. And in the last 6 years occasionally one pair of King Penguins will be there - sadly they have had no luck in breeding. Today we were lucky because they were both out - they are such a majestic looking bird. But the little Magellanic penguins were so cute, and could they swim it was great watching them. Really enjoyed the time photographing and observing them all, would had been good to have a little bit longer. On the way to the island we were also lucky enough to see some Southern Sei Whales, although pretty impossible to photograph because they don't come out of the water very high when they surface and you never know when they will surface, but still great to see. The captain also saw a humpback whale in the distance, but when he slowed to search for it, it didn't appear again. It was then motoring back to Ushuaia but overall a great 5 hour trip. It was then to a cafe for some lunch but unfortunately they didn't have wifi so we headed to the information centre and spent a couple of hours sitting there, booking our next lot of bus rides etc. It was then a few groceries which at that time of night is always a long wait for the checkout. We headed towards the campsite but going via the "C" line bus stop just in case and notice a lot of people waiting so thought a bus must be due soon, and it came probably after only a 2 minute wait - yay no walk up the hill tonight.Read more

    Traveler

    Amazing!

     
  • Day77

    Taking it easy in Ushuaia

    January 16 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    Sun 15 Jan: Nothing really planned today, so headed into town to book our Penguin tour. With the weather forecast for high winds tomorrow we decided to go Tuesday 9 am. With that locked in we then went to the supermarket to get a few supplies including a bottle of Argentina Red wine to try tonight as one of the guest had volunteered to cook a bbq for everyone. The bottle of Melbec was very drinkable and has changed our opinion of red wines, will have to try some more now especially when we get to Mendoza - the centre of Argentina wine county. And the evening was probably the best we have had on our travels, very enjoyable sitting around the bbq, sharing travelling stories with a German father and son who have just finished biking from Puerto Montt to Ushuaia (on tiny folding bikes), Meryl and Christian a Belguim / Chilean couple, a couple of Argentina friends starting there motorbike tour, a young Argentina family of 4, the Argentina (near BA) bbq chef Carlo and his wife, a couple of female Argentinas - Shopie a chef and friend who is a PE teacher and hockey coach and of cause Mauro the owner and his lovely wife Eliandro. And Doug especially loved the bbq lamb.

    Mon 16 Jan: After a very good sleep - must had been the wine, we got up to another quite chilly morning, temperatures have been 3 - 5 C in the mornings. Again we didn't really have anything to do, so thought we would go for an explore down the end of the road before we turn on to this one to see if there were any trails that went into the hills. There was one, but it didn't go far - just to someones house, so that was a shame, so instead we thought we would go and try and get to the fancy hotel that sits on the hill at the base of the valley road. The hotel was the final pit stop for the South American Amazing Race, that I watched on TV a few years ago and after watching that, was when I was first keen to come to Ushuaia and the bottom of Americas. The track that wound up the hill had a private property no enter sign on it so we walked up the road instead, which had a steady stream of taxis going up and down. About half way up, I spotted something grey moving in the scrub on the side of the road - it was a mother and cub grey foxes, so we spent a bit of time photographing them. We continue up to the hotel, and with our tramping boots and backpacks we tried and look inconspicuous as we went and had a look inside. It was then back to the campground for lunch and a bit of book reading. Even just this easy day, we still walked 14.4 kms. Mauro then told us that the Argentina girls, who one of is a chef, has volunteered to cook a lentil stew for everyone tonight if we were keen - certainly am, only trouble is its to far to go back down to the supermarket to get another bottle of wine so its only water tonight.
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    Traveler

    The foxes 😍

     
  • Day76

    Canadon de la Oveja

    January 15 in Argentina ⋅ ☁️ 10 °C

    Sat 14 Jan: When heading on our hike yesterday, there was another trail that continued up the Andorra valley to Laguna del Caminante 13 kms, then over a pass and down to the other side of Ushuaia 11.4 kms, the Canadon de la Oveja trail and then about 6 kms back into the centre of Ushuaia, so we knew it was going to be a big hiking day, and needed to get away fairly early. It was about 10 am before we got organised - with it so light at night we don't get to bed until after 11 pm so don't get up super early. Anyway the hike started through the buttercup valley and then wound its way through woodlands, about 12 kms the track branched off to climb up to Laguna del Caminante. A very pretty lake in a beautiful setting, however it was also very cold, so just a quick stop to eat our crackers, jam and cheese for lunch beside the water. Once back on the main track, it was a steep climb over rock shingle to the top of the Paso de la Oveja, there the track continue transversing the mountain side before heading into the woodlands again, it then open up with views over Western side of Ushuaia. There was alot of birds flying around, and as we got closer we saw they were feeding on the horses food. Once getting out of the park it was a long 6ish odd kms walking to get back to the centre of Ushuaia, where we stop for a well deserved pizza. Hike stats: 33.67 kms, 8 hrs 50, up 1269 m, down 1417 m. After getting a few groceries we were hoping to catch the bus back up to the campground, but was unsure where to catch it from - did wait at one bus stop for a while but eventually found out from some locals that line C buses didn't stop there so they suggested another street, but it was 10:30 pm, we were cold and tired so we ended up getting a taxi - sometimes you just have to spend the money!Read more

  • Day74

    Glacier Vinciguerra

    January 13 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    Fri 13th Jan. First thing we decided to check out the neighbouring campground, although did have enjoyable company with two cats joining us in the tent last night. The campground, which is just someones backyard only has about 8 sites, but one was just packing up as we arrived, and since the price was the same as the one we were currently in we decided to move. Its just so much nicer - a little bit further of the road, but the big thing was having grass rather than dirt, and not so busy, also got Wifi. The owner was also really nice and so helpful, a mechanical engineer who takes 2 months off in summer to run his little campground, normally with his sons help in the past but sounds like they have now all left home. So after moving, we had an early lunch because he had a toaster in the kitchen area (this is the first campground we have been in that has had a toaster, and only 1 other hostel has) so we decided to have toast with jam instead of just jam sandwiches - the things that excite us now. We then walked the 1.5 kms to the end of the road and the start of some trails. We decided to do the 10 km return hike to Vinciguerra Glacier. The first bit was along a valley stream which was covered in buttercups - very picturesque. Then the climbing started, it was a very steady climb coming out at the Laguna de los Tempanos. After some time there we then noticed the track continue around the lake, so we carried on. After a bit of rock scrambling we ended up right beside the glacier, which we were able to go underneath a little way - a great experience. We then continued up the rocks beside the glacier for some more up close photos with the glacier. We didn't know we would end up this close to the glacier and really enjoyed the experience, rather than our normal just viewing another glacier in the distance. On the way back down we took the 1.5 km side track up to view Laguna Encantada. We ended up getting back to the campsite about 7 pm, and was waiting for a shower (there is only one) when the owner said for me and Doug to come in and use his house one which was really nice.Read more

    Traveler

    Beautiful xx

    Traveler

    Stunning!

     
  • Day74

    To the bottom of the Americas

    January 13 in Argentina ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    Wed 11 Jan: Today was always going to be a long day and it was. Our bus for Ushuaia was due to depart Rio Gallegos at 8 am, so after walking the 1.2 kms from the hostel, we got to the station about 7.40 am and waited, 8 am came and left and no bus appeared. We finally got on the road just after 9 am. After an hour we had our first border crossing. You can not drive down Argentina without going into Chile for a few hundred kms, which we forgot about. So first we had to exit out of Argentina, then a few kms down the road, entered Chile - and here our preparaness for the bus ride came undone, as we had brought some nectarines and bananas to eat on the way, and of course we weren't allowed them, even though we were staying on the bus and we would be back in Argentina a few hours down the road - so annoying. So then we had to leave Chile and enter back into Argentina - a long process doing the 56 passengers on the bus every time. We eventually arrived into Ushuaia 10.10 pm. We had decided to take a taxi the 6 kms to the nearest camping ground, however there were none around when we arrived. After waiting about half an hour we eventually got one. We arrived at the campground about 11pm and luckily they were still up and had a space. It was quite a chilly night and it was well after midnight by the time we got the tent set up and into bed, however we both were hunting out thermals to put on soon after. The tent was right next to a gravel road, which was noisy and dusty, and also alot of dogs nearby barking all night, the tentsite was also just dusty dirt so not a very ideal site.

    Thur 12 Jan: After our not very well rested night we headed into Ushuaia town to check out how to spend the next week. We decided to walk the 6 kms into town, which wasn't to bad, mainly downhill. Our first job was to exchange some $US as we were completely out of Argentina pesos. So after getting a map from the information centre we headed to the money exchange that was marked, however no sign of it, so we asked in a nearby hostel, a German tourist said the best rate was at the bus station or at a hostel a couple of blocks away, which started our wild goose chase. First we went to the hostel, because we were considering trying to get somewhere closer to town to stay, so enquired about price and availablity, also taking note of their exhange rate. We then decided to go to the bus station, well where we got dropped off last night which wasn't to far away to get the better rate, but there was no actual office there, so went back up the hill to the hostel, but they didn't have enough money to do the exchange, so then searched where theWestern Union is, because everyone talks about getting good rate from them. It was about a 3 km walk to the Western Union and the line was mega, but we really need some money, especially as we were getting really hungry. After waiting for over an hour and with at least another hour before getting to the front, I suggested Doug go and ask the teller who was just going off, and make sure they do currency exchange. And guess what they didn't, so it was all the way back to the currency exchange we first was heading too, which was around the corner from what showed on the map. With wallets full again and a sausage and bun to full the stomach, we then check out possibility of doing a last minute Antartica cruise - wouldn't get this opportunity again - but soon found out our time was too short as shortest cruise was 12 days. So after Doug had a quick pint at the World's Southern most Irish Bar, we then headed back to the campground. 2 properties before our campground, there was another small one, which looked really nice mainly because it had grass and nice areas to sit, so might check that out in the morning - the cheapest accomodation in town we found was in a 6 bed shared room and that was 3x the price of the campground, so we will stick with the tent.
    Read more

    Traveler

    Wow!

    Traveler

    Cosy😄

    Traveler

    A good days trek just exchanging the money 🤣 Bet the pint was good after that!

     

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